HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
NASA probe could reveal comet life, scientists claim

Cardiff (UK) scientists are playing a major role in a NASA mission, which they believe could reveal living matter in the icy layers beneath the surface of a comet.

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft will make a historic encounter with Comet Tempel-1 on 4th July, when a metre-long projectile will crash into the comet and tunnel through its outer layers, producing a crater and a plume of gas and dust.

UK astronomers involved in monitoring the comet before, during and after the impact and interpreting the results include Cardiff University's Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Dr Max Wallis at the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology. They will conduct their study through instruments on the mother spacecraft.

The Cardiff scientists predict that Deep Impact will verify their theory that the outer crust of the comet will consist of asphalt-like material with permafrost beneath. The small icy fragments blasted out by the impact will include organic matter, they suggest.

The mainly copper projectile will hit the comet at 25,000 miles per hour and will penetrate 15-20 metres into the surface before exploding. The comet will remain intact despite losing a huge amount of material 100,000 tonnes from a 100 metre diameter crater, and the impact is not expected to alter the comet's orbit.

"Not only is Deep Impact a spectacular experiment, it is also a test for our long-standing arguments," added Professor Wickramasinghe. "It will show, we believe, that a comet is not a rubble pile, nor a conglomerate of ices, but a porous mass of organics and ice under the black asphalt crust."

Comets are thought to have accumulated from a mixture of ices and organic interstellar dust at the time the solar system was formed some 4.6 billion years ago.

"This material is quite porous, so it is daring again to predict that subsurface ponds or lakes form transiently due to heat penetrating the exterior crust. We can thus expect biology on c
'"/>

Contact: Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe
Wickramasinghe@cardiff.ac.uk
44-29-2087-4201
Cardiff University
29-Jun-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Swarming starlings help probe plasma, crowds and stock market
2. Anthrax bacteriums deadly secrets probed
3. Measuring the unseeable: Penn researchers probe proteins dark energy
4. Researchers probe risks, benefits of folic acid fortification
5. MIT researchers probe bones tiny building blocks
6. Study to probe how healthy younger adults make use of genetic tests
7. York mathematician probes geometric route to combat viruses
8. Penn scientists engineer small molecules to probe proteins deep inside cell membrane
9. Simulated populations used to probe gene mapping
10. Super small nanoelectrodes can probe microscale environments
11. Prototype space probe prepares to explore Earths deepest sinkhole

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/10/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... Commercial Aspects" to their offering. ... Biomarkers play an important ... selection of treatment as well for monitoring the results. There ... modern medicine. Biochip/microarray technologies and next generation sequencing are also ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading supplier of ... quarter and year ended December 31, 2016. ... compared to $6.9 million in the same quarter last year. ... million compared to $2.6 million in the fourth quarter of ... $0.5 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, which compares to ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... 7, 2017 Report Highlights The ... from $8.3 billion in 2016 at a compound annual ... Report Includes - An overview of the global ... with data from 2015 and 2016, and projections of ... of the market on the basis of product type, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... Scientists propose in Nature blocking ... Gaucher and maybe other lysosomal storage diseases as a ... current therapies. An international research team led ... also included investigators from the University of Lübeck in ... 22. The study was conducted in mouse models of ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... Yorba Linda, Ca (PRWEB) , ... February 22, ... ... interactive virtual events for tech innovators, engineers, and scientists from around the world, ... event will place on February 22 and 23, 2017. This premier, online-only conference ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... , Feb. 22, 2017 Origin (Origin Agritech, LLC, a ... and seed provider, and Arcadia (Arcadia Biosciences, ... develops and commercializes agricultural productivity traits and nutritional products, today announced ... biotechnology product developed in China to ... trials. ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... Pharma and biotech consulting ... European director. Operating from Pennside’s Zurich headquarters, Pennside Partners, GmbH, Mr. Perkins brings ... after more than a decade with leading market research firm, GfK. He began ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: